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One of the MANY pictures I took in St. Augustine. This is at the Old Jail.

There are few things that people both critically overthink and fatally underthink in equal amounts. One of those things is the idea of commitment, of forever.There’s a saying that goes “marry in haste, repent at leisure.” Sometimes we are too quick to pull the trigger on major decisions and make mistakes we can’t take back. Sometimes, however, we face a bit of the opposite struggle.

As you all know, I am under a bit of a deadline in my relationship. Mr. Perfect and I will be at five years of dating in early December 2012. Our relationship could be in preschool, have started and finished undergrad (or a five year master’s program), paid off a car loan, or completed Insanity or P90x approximately 60 times. In the past five years, many, many friends have met and married and had babies. They’ve moved to new cities and started completely new careers. I’ve gotten to be deliriously excited about at least ten engagements, five marriages, and two babies of people I really know and interact with, not to mention countless facebook friends. While I’ve enjoyed everyone else’s happiness and success in the relationship arena, I do wonder if I’m in the remedial love class. I mean, if you can’t either seal the deal or decide it’s not going to work in five years…

I am at the point that I may be overthinking things when it comes to marriage and family. I am at the tipping point, so to speak. The content of this blog is not the extent of the relationship work and knowledge that I’ve acquired in the last three plus years I’ve been writing it. I’ve read so many books about relationships and marriage it is unreal. I have followed the blogs and taken the tests. I should be certified in relationship coaching. Still, I have NO idea what marriage will really be about for me. There are some things you just have to do to know, you know? I have a surplus of knowledge and no experience. In the current job market, you can’t get hired on that.

The key to this commitment issue, of course, is balance and perspective (OK, so maybe that’s two keys). This is why I decided to stick to my original plan of giving this five years (a really generous amount of time, IMHO). Any more time would be uncivilized. Anyone who’s ever even seen gambling on TV knows that there’s a time you have to place your bets and let it ride. Once Regis asked, “Is that your final answer?” there was no turning back. You have to lock it in. But how do you know when you have enough information to make an informed decision? When you have looked at it from every possible angle and ignored all the impossible ones. A balanced perspective.

If you haven’t been following my personal blog What I Wanted to Say (and why haven’t you, get on that!), then you are perhaps unaware that Mr. Perfect and I have started Pre-Marital Counseling. No, we are not engaged; it was something Mr. Perfect wanted to do before deciding on engagement. So far, we aren’t discovering too much; we have talked about nearly everything that’s been said over the last five weeks in six session by one mental health counselor and one minister and one book (huh? Yeah). Forever is such a far reaching decision that it requires a lot of thought and attention. However, at some point you have  to make a decision. The trick is to make a decision based on what you have learned and observed of yourself and your relationship, not other people.

Don’t play the even Miss Independent is getting married (which is true, and I’m beyond excited for her!) card, or the it’s been five years card, or the I’m awesome and you need to marry me card. In fact, just stop playing cards. Don’t pull straws or eeny meenie minie moe it, either. Make an informed decision.

I know many of you think that my sticking to a hard and fast deadline is silly. I don’t get the point of pre-marital counseling for a pre-engaged couple of five years, either. But we all have to do what gives us a level of comfort that we’ve explore all viable options and possible angles without overthinking and possibly missing out on something wonderful.

That’s my two cents anyway. Leave yours in the comments section